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Volume 487: debated on Monday 9 February 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the Answer of 22 May 2008, Official Report, column 434W, on apprentices, what progress has been made in increasing the number of apprentices in his Department and its agencies; and how many apprentices his Department and its agencies employ. (251925)

Since the previous question raised by the hon. Member, HM Treasury and its agencies have had no apprenticeships or advanced apprenticeships in place. Efforts are made to raise awareness of the programmes available and HM Treasury and its agencies will continue to seek to attract potential candidates to apprenticeship schemes including with our outsourced suppliers.

Methods used to promote the advantages of the apprenticeships and trying to recruit to the Government Pathway scheme include circulating literature and holding promotional events with external suppliers. The lack of take-up can be attributed to the highly skilled workforce that is already in place. A recent sample of HM Treasury and Office of Government Commerce colleagues found 98.6 per cent. of respondents were qualified to level 2 or above. This suggests the pool of potential applicants for apprenticeships is relatively small.